Use an iPad for an external travel monitor – MacBook and PC

I like to travel, so sometimes on the road programming can be a chore without my large monitor. There is a useful solution and that is to use an iPad as an external monitor. It actually works quite well!  What’s nice too is you can use the tablet for most of your normal tasks, and bust out the laptop/tablet combo when you need more real estate (and are compiling things).

I have researched USB connected monitors, and none of them can compete with the screen resolution of this setup.

This will actually work in Windows and MacOS.

What you need:

  • Duet – the application that makes this work over the lightning cable
  • Ipad – the PRO works best for this since it has high screen resolution. Personally I have the 9.7″ and it works great.  It has a retina display with 2048 x 1536 which is more then enough. You can go crazy and do the 12″ too.
  • Lightning cable – this connects from your laptop to the Ipad and give the millisecond response times

It’s pretty easy, install the Duet application on your laptop, and install the app on your tablet. The iPad Duet App will cost about $20, but it’s worth it. Seem-less and very quick.

I use the iPad to have a live view of what I am programming (or email if doing something else). You can adjust the resolution of them independently and move them around where they connect.

Another trick is to use an iPad mount, which connects it to your MacBook screen (not PC’s in this case). I tried the Mountie from Ten One Design ( and it works well. What’s nice about this setup is you can put two of them (one on each side) and have a triple “monitor” setup.


iPad Mountie


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